Nury Martinez Quits City Council Following Leaked Racist Remarks

In the end, former L.A. City Council President Martinez could not escape the implications of her ugly 2021 conversation

Los Angeles City Councilwoman Nury Martinez resigned from her council seat today following the release of a recorded conversation from 2021 in which she made a series of racist comments while discussing the process of redrawing council district boundaries. 

Though it’s unknown who first recorded the conversation—in which Martinez can be heard comparing white Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin’s Black son to “a monkey”— speculation has continued swirling regarding who got the conversation on tape and why, as LAMag reported. Outrage over the remarks was swift with the likes of Karen Bass, Rick Caruso and Adam B. Schiff among the many calling for Martinez’s resignation by Monday evening following the first reports of the leak on Sunday. 

“It is with a broken heart that I resign my seat for Council District 6, the community I grew up in and my home,” Martinez said in a written statement Wednesday afternoon. Her lengthy address made no direct reference to the recording that may have ended her political career, although she added, “To my staff—I’m sorry that we’re ending it this way. This is no reflection on you. I know you all will continue to do great work and fight for our district. I’ll be cheering you on.”

Martinez stepped down as council president on Monday. In that resignation statement she noted, “I have already reached out to many of my Black colleagues and other Black leaders to express my regret in order for us to heal.” She also apologized to Bonin, his husband, and their son.

On the recording, Martinez can be heard referencing not only Bonin’s son but also, among others, L.A. District Attorney George Gascon, of whom Martinez said, “Fuck that guy! He’s with the Blacks.”

Other attendees present during the conversation were Councilmen Kevin de León and Gil Cedillo, along with Ron Herrera, president of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor. 

With Martinez stepping down from her leadership role, Mitch O’Farrell, the council president pro tempore, was elevated to interim council president. He has since repeatedly called on Martinez, Kevin de León and Gil Cedillo to resign. A group of elected officials including Harris-Dawson and Assembly members Isaac Bryan and Tina McKinnor also held a news conference Monday morning calling on Martinez, de León and Cedillo to immediately resign their council seats.

Herrera resigned his position at the Federation of Labor on Tuesday, and the group is now joining the growing call for the two councilmen to call it quits as well.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Tuesday, “The president is glad to see one of the participants in that conversation has resigned, but they all should. He believes that they all should resign.”

De León and Cedillo have not yet resigned their seats.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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